I have an admission to make, as a mother and a writer with a passion for grammar.
I don’t always correct my son when he mispronounces words. In fact, a lot of the time, I don’t do it at all. Partially because I imagine he’ll learn in time, and I do plan to correct any glaring misconceptions before he hits, say high school. (Okay, yes, kindergarten. Hmpf.) However, the real reason? Because it’s just so darn cute.
I’m a writer…words are my passion, my love, and yet there is nothing quite so sweet as the way your children pronounce words as they are learning. The latest one: My son and I made corn muffins the other night, and for some reason, he took them to be “nuthins.” So every time he would tell his dad what we were making, it came out like “We’re making nuthins!”
Now, how do you correct that?
Over his almost-four short years, he’s had a number of adorable turns of phrases, and yes, in time, they begin to correct themselves as his motor skills develop and he hears the proper way to say things more often. And when they do correct themselves and I start hearing him pronounce things correctly, it’s like a little squeeze in my heart. He’s growing up so fast. He’s not a baby, he’s a little boy.
Just last week, I was putting on a cartoon for him to watch..and he choose to watch Little Einsteins. However, from the time he started talking about this show, he called them the “Nigh Nights.” (Again, it’s a wonder how their brains process…) Last week, he looked at me and said, “Mommy, the Litt-le EINsteins.” Very carefully, very correctly. And my heart tugged.
And it also made me pause…would I remember this adorable phrases in later years? Probably not…which means, I need to write them down. For being a writer, it’s amazing how little of his day to day life I think about writing down for memories. We have pictures, LOTS of pictures… some videos (like this one below.
But the little things that make me smile, I need to write them down, too. These are milestones as much as walking and talking are. And if my memory today is any indication, it’s not likely I’ll hang on to much. So today, I guess I’m giving myself (and you should you chose to take it) a little assignment. For however old your child is, take ten minutes and one piece of paper… ask yourself what his/her favorite toy is, favorite things to do, favorite tv show, favorite words, cute sayings. Take a snapshot of your child in words. Because, as writers, we definitely know that words matter… and years from now, that one page snapshot will hold many of your favorite memories.